Apple is reportedly working on a new keyboard for its iPad devices. Unlike its most recent iPad keyboard model, this one may have multi-function keys and touch-strips on both sides.
This recently published patent application from Apple introduces a keyboard that replaces some traditional keys in favour of multi-function ones. This isn’t a huge deal-breaker, since Apple intends to only replace keys that aren’t frequently used.
Apart from that, the keyboard could have integrated touch sensors. This adds another layer of functionality for users depending on how hard they press a key.
One thing that could make use of such a feature could be notifications. For example, if Apple placed a touch sensor under the ‘1’ key, a user could press harder to bring up their notification center.
Of course, Apple should allow users to customise themselves what they want to launch from hard-pressing keys. I don’t see how it’ll really work if Apple decides everything since users don’t always use all of Apple’s native apps.
The touch-strips, on the other hand, kind of function like trackpads on the left and right sides of the keyboard.
As the patent describes, it will allow users to scroll through content (with their finger), and perform certain actions with gestures, like bringing up the notification center.
Like every other patent, these are likely just ideas being thrown around at Apple for them to test and develop. It’s not guaranteed that this will actually be an Apple product in the future.